A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
All of us have heard this term "preventive war" since the earliest days of Hitler. ... A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn't preventive war; that is war. ... I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.
Americans, indeed all freemen, remember that in the final choice, a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains.
Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed.
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed—else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government
So long as we govern our nation by the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights, we can be sure that our nation will grow in strength and wisdom and freedom.
The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.
We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.
We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.
Why are we proud [to be American]? We are proud, first of all, because from the beginning of this Nation, a man can walk upright, no matter who he is, or who she is. He can walk upright and meet his friend -- or his enemy; and he does not fear that because that enemy may be in a position of great power that he can be suddenly thrown in jail to rot there without charges and with no recourse to justice. We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it.
It is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence. And any who act as if freedom’s defenses are found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America.
Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them.
Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.
They [the founders] proclaimed to all the world the revolutionary doctrine of the divine rights of the common man. That doctrine has ever since been the heart of the American faith.
I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.
We have never stopped sin by passing laws; and in the same way, we are not going to take a great moral ideal and achieve it merely by law.
The free world must now prove itself worthy of its own past.